Author Topic: REVIEW: Castle Greyhawk (by Andrew White)  (Read 901 times)

Offline ProphetSword

  • Mod Designer
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2914
  • FRUA Lives!
    • Lands of Adventure
REVIEW: Castle Greyhawk (by Andrew White)
« on: January 22, 2009, 01:18:23 PM »
Castle Greyhawk
by Andrew White

Download Castle Greyhawk - greyhawk.zip      9.5

Review by Doug Yanega

First things first...I played the Mac conversion, so I cannot be certain that the few minor technical and cosmetic glitches I encountered (like monsters that seemed to have transparent dots in their bodies, like the Tarrasque) were a result of the conversion process. Bearing that in mind, there were very, very few technical glitches, and nothing that could prevent you from completing the game. There is one useful magic item that does NOT radiate magic, and one has to be careful not to throw it away, for example. The ONLY typo I noticed (and one of my jobs is proofreading scientific journals) was in the Bigpic graphic that displays when you complete the game! In essence, there is nothing that occurs to distract you from enjoying the game - aside from the fact that five times I had the game bomb when I went into combat with preparatory spells in place. Again, this MIGHT be a Mac-related glitch, but if others have the same problem, it might be worth posting here. Oh, and some people *don't* seem to approve of modules where you can walk around in search mode all the time - you *can* do that here, and it's helpful, too.

Second: the included Adventurer's Journal and *especially* the Hint Book place this module on an ENTIRELY different level in terms of text and color and background, etc. It ain't *fair* to take that sort of thing into consideration and still put this on the same 1-10 point scale as all those other modules with no massive supporting docs like this. There is SO much depth to the hint book, and so much of the humor of this module is tied up in it...well, let's just say "Dang, why don't ALL modules come with supporting stuff like this?!" I *do* suggest that people *don't* read journal entries they haven't been referred to, nor read the hint book until they have completed (or *think* they've completed) any given level.

Third: this *IS* a humorous module, packed to the proverbial rafters with wicked (and not-so-wicked) parodies, clever monster names (e.g., "Doughpleganger"), tongue-in-cheek humor, carefully altered graphics, and takeoffs on trite and tired themes. There are two places where NPCs join the party, and they lead to some of the most humorous moments of all. There were only a few events that were real side-splitters, but that isn't what's important - the humor was clever, almost non-stop, and tasteful. Of course, given that a fair bit of it requires some knowledge of U.S. culture (like the war between Colonel Sandpaper and King Burger), some foreign FRUA players might simply end up asking why there is no semblance of a plot. This is a module where the humor *is* the plot, in essence.

Fourth: the result of the above is that you NEVER knew whether you were supposed to attack something or leave it alone, or whether some action you were being queried about was a bad idea or not. Lots of "Who Tries?" events all through the module, and choice lists, make for a lively time. SAVE OFTEN to allow yourself a chance to explore options!! I can't stress that enough! There are, for example, several places where you can, if you do things right, get some VERY good magic items without a combat - but if you make a wrong selection, you lose the opportunity permanently. Along these lines, there are VAST numbers of optional combats, and trust me, a few are essentially unwinnable unless you cheated and loaded a 20th-level party of your own and NOT the 1st-level pregens.

Fifth: following the above, make no mistake, this is also a VERY combat-heavy module, and there are several very tough mandatory battles. If anything, the major battles get easier and easier, due to the fact that the party starts out *incredibly* weak. My first death in the module was TWO STEPS into the game, from the *weather*. I had to redo the first major combat, with Burt & Jimmy, several times to get through it (a party of 1st-level characters against an Ettin is a tough task!), and several redos on the "Dead-Raising Party" battle before I got through that - but that battle gives enough experience for everyone to get TWO more levels, and from there things tend to get a little easier, relatively speaking. But this is the FIRST module where I didn't play on Champion level, and even had to set a few battles to Novice just so I could get on with things (and even then, like I said, some optional battles - especially the one against multiple major demons - are STILL unwinnable). By the time you reach the bottom levels, wandering monsters are things like Mariliths and Glabrezu, which can be more than a little challenging, and you could, if you wanted to, end up killing 3 or 4 beholders and 3 (or as many as 9) dragons over the course of the module. Of course, if you avoid ALL the optional battles, your party will be too weak to finish the mandatory ones, so I'd urge folks to go for anything that doesn't involve demons or dragons. ;-)

Overall? Unless you can't stand combat-packed modules, for whatever reason, I'd call this a must-play, if only to see the custom-tailored graphics and monsters, and enjoy some great parodies. Heck, even the hint book by *itself* is fun to browse! At any rate, I'd suspect that there must be some purists out there who would say that a module that has no real plot, no profound emotional involvement, no soul-searching theme, and places no premium on the "essence of role-playing" cannot possibly deserve a 10. Well, sometimes just a rollicking good time is all one needs, but I'll make a concession, and give this one a rating of 9.5, okay? Andrew made a real enjoyable module here, folks.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 06:11:39 PM by Olivier Leroux »
LANDS OF ADVENTURE: An Old-School Style CRPG

More Information Here: http://landsadventure.blogspot.com/

Offline ProphetSword

  • Mod Designer
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2914
  • FRUA Lives!
    • Lands of Adventure
Re: REVIEW: Castle Greyhawk
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2009, 01:26:31 PM »
Castle Greyhawk
by Andrew White

Reviewed by: Adam Hackley

Castle Greyhawk
This mod was a ton of fun! I don't want to give too much away, but the only reason that you won't like this mod is if you are totally lacking in a sense of humor. The author takes on everything from gaming stereo types, to pop culture, to politics. There's a lot of great original art (very cartoonish, but appropriate to the setting) and some clever use of 'vanilla' pics. Sound effects are also used very well. I don't want to give out too much free advice, but I will say the following: Don't be afraid to use up any and all wands that you find, you'll need to, and there are plenty to be found in the mod. Also, the battle with Aunt Bea is as tough as you've heard, I made several attempts, and couldn't get past until I had set it in 'novice' mode. Use multiple save games to try a variety of different options. The author presents you with a lot of choices to make, which is part of what makes this such a great mod. Also, be sure to read the journal, it's as much fun as the mod it's self!
LANDS OF ADVENTURE: An Old-School Style CRPG

More Information Here: http://landsadventure.blogspot.com/

Offline Olivier Leroux

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2339
  • Yip, yip, yip!
Re: REVIEW: Castle Greyhawk (by Andrew White)
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2009, 05:34:18 PM »
Castle Greyhawk
by Andrew White

Reviewed by Susan McKinney

   This was an "interesting" design.  I have not seen the p&p version, so I found some of the cookies "amusing", to say the least.  This is a conversion from a macUA design.  I, however, believed that the combats were way too tough for my poor party.  I lost track of the plot line in the frequent party deaths.  I got to a point where I thought I had finished but nothing happened.  Very disappointing. I guess I missed something somewhere.

Mycroft: 5